Thursday, 6 October 2011

Dr Who?

With the world economy tap dancing on thin ice cream over the financial equivalent of a vat of molten marmite, and the once great Gunners threatening to shoot themselves in both feet from close range, like many, I turned on the telly this week seeking news. I found little. No, the remote control had not finally left the telly, citing irreconcilable differences, and my daughter had not finally figured out how to block any channel but Pop Girl. Yes, Pop Girl. Instead, the peddlers of evening emissions had grasped the trial of Dr Conrad Murray, like a Labrador with slippers, and were shaking the life out of every tedious moment.

Gaddafi’s hiding out, Greece wants bailing out, and the world media’s camping out in a courtroom drama whose star has long since left the building.

For those that may have spent this week on Mars, or a lay-by in the Lake District, Dr Murray, is the former personal physician of Michael Jackson. He denies involuntary manslaughter, his defence team claiming that the fatal dose of the drug Propofol was in fact self-administered.  

Now, the death of Michael Jackson was a cogent depiction of the alienation of celebrity culture, and a human tragedy to boot. But what I sat through was protracted legal mechanics and dissected contract negotiations. We pay lawyers to do this stuff because it’s too complex and tedious for us to be bothered with, so why would I want to watch it? Last week I paid a really nice guy to fix our washing machine, but I didn’t put in on YouTube.

A 15 minute hi-lights package would have more than covered the salient points, not the blow-by-blow battering on offer. But, like free newspapers on the train, it’s an easy way to fill the time.

I blame 24 hour news and reality TV in equal measure. There is not enough genuine news for 24 hours, and Big Brother’s enduring legacy to the canon of cultural consciousness was to pass off watching aging pop stars sleeping in a dormitory, as entertainment. Pop the two together, like welding a couple of crashed up Nissan Cherries in a backstreet garage in Peckham, and this is the unfortunate offspring.

Less telly, better telly, say I. But as someone dead and famous might have said, you can’t hold back the tide with a teaspoon.

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